Revelation 027 – Creator and JudgeRevelation 8:1-13 • Dr. Andy Woods • January 27, 2019 • Revelation
Creator and Judge 1-27-19
Revelation 8:1-13 Lesson 27
Good morning everybody. Let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 8 , beginning at verse 1. The title of our message this morning is God is Creator and Judge. As you’re turning there I want to highlight next week, we’re going to have a guest speaker, his name is Dr. Thomas Ice, sort of a mentor of mine. He’s going to be teaching Sunday School part one and the sermon, part two, which is the end time program, catch this, revealed in the Book of Deuteronomy. You may not look at the Book of Deuteronomy like that but you’re going to come next week and learn some things from him that you probably have never heard anybody talk about. I’ve heard him give this presentation and it’s outstanding and I’m happy he’s going to be here next week, along with his wife, Janice. And I also guarantee this, you won’t be bored because I think Tommy probably if he wasn’t a theologian he could get a job as a standup comic in Las Vegas, one of those type of shows… you know. So anyway, you’ll hear him and you’ll say I’ve never heard anybody teach quit like him; but at the same time you’re going to be getting some great content.
Here we are in the Book of Revelation, we have completed the seal judgments, seal number 6 has been opened. You remember the seal judgments, the antichrist has come forward, war, famine, death, martyrdoms, cosmic disturbances, as God is revealing to us the end. And every time you hit a 6 in the Book of Revelation you have to sort of get your bearings because when there’s a 6 there’s going to be what I would call a lunch break; it’s an insertion into the chronology that sort of stops the chronology. It’s designed to answer a question that’s preceded it and tell us also what’s coming.
And the question at the end of chapter 6, given the severity of the seal judgments is who can stand. What happens in between chapter 6 and chapter 7 is a momentary pause in the action answering the question who can stand? Answer, the 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will blanket the world with the gospel during this terrible time of judgment. And essentially what happens once these chronological non-chronological insertions are over is the vision will just kind of pick up where it left off. So it left us off with seal judgment number 6, and so chapter 8 picks up where it left off with seal judgment number 7.
You might kind of think about these insertions sort of like Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Genesis 1, really chapter 1, verse 1 all the way through chapter 2, verse 3, gives you the whole seven days of creation, six days of creation, God resting on the seventh day. And you might be saying to yourself well, since man was created on day six I sure would like to know a little bit more about day six. So Genesis 2 stops the chronology and gives you a whole bunch of information, not rehashing the whole chronology of the creation week but focusing specifically on day six, Adam and Eve, the tree of life, the tree of knowledge, the Garden of Eden and all of these kinds of things.
And then once you’re finished with Genesis 2 you get right back on the chronology path and the chronology keeps marching forward. That’s how the Book of Revelation is set up. It will take you chronologically through these judgments until you hit a six and it’ll pause and give you sort of a different perspective on it and then once that’s over it continues to march in terms of chronology. So here we are with seal judgment number six which has not yet transpired. And you’ll find that seal judgment in chapter 8, verses 1-6.
Notice what it says in verse 1, “When the Lamb” notice Jesus is opening these seals, “When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” So you’ll notice that we have silence and the silence is sort of preparatory for the judgment that’s coming because as I’ll be showing you as we move into these verses that it’s during this seventh seal that the trumpets are actually unleashed. So we have a tendency to think of silence as some kind of non-judgment but the reality of the situation is silence is actually the greatest judgment because it’s foreboding judgment about to come, judgments in fact that are even more severe than the prior judgments that we have already studied.
And we also noticed something else about God, is prior to the manifestation of judgment God is very good at pausing the action to give humanity an opportunity to rethink in terms of repentance why these judgments are happening. Before God sends judgment in the Bible what you’ll discover is He sends a grace period, a time of warning. You might remember back in Revelation 2:21 the woman named Jezebel in the church at Thyatira, and how the Lord moved into that particular church with discipline. And it says there, Revelation 2:21, concerning Jezebel, “’I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.”
It’s interesting to me that in the days of Noah, before God sent the great deluge that covered the entire earth there was, according to Genesis 6:3, 120 years of grace where Noah, a preacher of righteousness, 2 Peter 2:5, was no doubt warning about things to come. [Genesis 6:3, “Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” 2 Peter 2:5, “and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;”]
This is why 1 Peter 3:20 talks about how “the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah.” [1 Peter 3:20, “who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.”] A grace period before judgment.
And you know, it’s sort of true in our lives, there are things that the Lord would have us root out of our lives before the consequences show up, before His hand moves in sometimes with discipline, to our betterment. I remember when I was very young, I liked to climb on things and I found myself at one time climbing up a telephone pole, it had those spikes on the sides, we had one right out there by our backyard, and I would start to kind of pull myself up and I got pretty high and my dad could see what I was doing and he knew what was going to happen if I touched that wire at the top, I had no concept of it, and so he shouted out to me, “Andrew,” now when he said “Andrew” I knew I was in trouble because my name is Andy but my full name is Andrew, what he was doing is he was giving me a warning because I really didn’t understand what I was about to do to myself had I just succeeded in climbing to the top of that telephone pole.
God is the same way in his work with us. Could it be that God is shouting out your name as we speak, and He is wanting you to correct something in your life under His power so that the consequences won’t come, His disciplinary hand won’t come. And God is doing the same thing, I believe, through this silence here with the seven seal trumpet judgment in the Book of Revelation as the earth is being given an opportunity to sort of reflect on what’s happening with the prospect of stopping these horrific judgments.
You’ll notice there in verse 2, Revelation chapter 8 and verse 2 it says, “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.” Now we have the entrance of the trumpet judgments. See with the seal judgments every time a seal was opened by the Lamb, Jesus Christ, a judgment came to the earth as that seven seal scroll, the title deed to the earth, Revelation 5, was being opened.
And now we learn about seven angels who are now going to be used as the hands of God, if you will, to bring further judgments to the earth. Every time a trumpet sounds by an angel another judgment will begin to manifest itself on planet earth. And so you’ll notice that this silence is interesting because this silence is now triggering the seven trumpet judgments that are coming. And that becomes a major clue for us, if you will, because a lot of people are sort of lost as to how to organize these judgments in the Book of Revelation. We have the seal judgments, the trumpet judgments, and the bowl judgments. The seal judgments, Revelation 6. The trumpet judgments, Revelation 8 and 9 primarily. Bowl judgments, Revelation 16. How do you organize these? I mean, are these all happening at the same time? Is this simultaneous? Is it concurrent?
And I believe the right understanding is to look at these judgments a lot like a telescope pulling out because the seventh seal will unleash the trumpets which will unfold chronologically, and when we get to the seventh trumpet there’ll be another moment of silence because the bowl judgments are about to be opened. And every time you get to a six, just think lunch break, because in between a six and a seven there’s going to be a momentary pause in the chronology as we have seen.
Take a look at Revelation 8 and notice if you will verses 3-4, still of course in chapter 8, “Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.” Verse 4, “and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.” And here is where we’re introduced to another angel. Now this is not an angel with each angel blowing one of the seven trumpets; this would be a different angel, another angel, and this angel is portrayed as bringing a censer with incense which goes up as smoke or incense before the Lord. And verses 3 and 4 sort of add to this idea that just as incense, in terms of smoke, goes up into the presence of the Lord in His throne room, this is how God looks at the prayers of the saints.
I mean, how much does God value prayer on the part of His people? He sees it as actually smoke from incense in the form of worship arising before Him. This is not the first time in the Book of Revelation that we’ve seen this sort of imagery. You might recall we saw the same thing back in Revelation 5, where it talks about a harp and golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints. And we might ask ourselves, what kinds of prayers is God listening to here? Which kinds of prayers is God receiving? Which kinds of prayers is God valuing?
No doubt many of these prayers have to do with seal judgment five where we had massive martyrdoms in Revelation 6:9-11. [“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;  and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”  And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.” Revelation 6:9-11]
You recall the martyrs under the altar once they were killed and when into the presence of the Lord. Remember them beneath the throne, beneath the altar I should say, calling out to the Lord and saying to the Lord, how long until you avenge us. Perhaps these are the prayers that are referenced here in Revelation 8. And beyond that there’s a prayer that believers have been praying for a long time. In fact, we’ve probably been praying for an answer to this specific request for the last 2,000 years; it’s in the so-called Lord’s prayer, where the Lord was teaching His disciples how to pray and do you recall how that prayer began? Matthew 6:10, “Thy kingdom” what? “come.” Christians have been praying that for 2,000 years. What is the Book of Revelation about? It’s an answer to that prayer because as we work our way through this chronology eventually we’re going to get to Revelation 20 where God’s kingdom at the end of the seven year tribulation period will have manifested itself on planet earth.
Revelation 11:15, “…The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” The prayer, although uttered for 2,000 years seemingly without an answer, is answered in the Book of Revelation. I think we under estimate greatly the power of prayer, the importance of prayer, the receptivity of God to prayer. One of the greatest acts of faith you can ever engage in as a Christian is to pray. And the reason it’s an act of faith is you don’t really know if God is answering or not, is He listening? We don’t get sometimes an immediate result and we think well, why bother with the process. But a Scripture like this about smoke arising to heaven, and that’s how God views the prayers of the saints, it’s a reminder of how significant prayer is, how prayer itself in the timing of God can actually move the hands of the Creator. Think about that!!! Little old me, little old you, we have an ability to actually move God’s hand as we pray for His purposes within His will.
The Book of Hebrews, chapter 4, verses 15-16 says this. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Does that characterize your life? Does that characterize my life? Does that characterize our lives? Do we take advantage of this tremendous privilege that we have in Christ to go into His throne by way of prayer and petition God’s Almighty. The Book of James, chapter 5:16 says “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” [KJV] There is much more accomplished during those times of prayer unto God than we can possibly even imagine or fathom because we really have not understood the complete picture of the value of God, the value God places on the whole topic or the subject of prayer. God, make us people of prayer should be our prayer for our own individual lives and hear at Sugar Land Bible Church.
You move down to verse 5 and it says this, “the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” That’s some kind of heavenly scene of judgment, lightning, thunder and an earthquake. I believe these things are heavenly, taking place in the heavens because during this half hour of silence these things are foreboding what the earth is about to experience. We saw that heavenly foreboding, you might remember, all the way back in Revelation 4:5, before any judgments came to the earth it says this: “Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” So a tremendous foreboding during this half hour of silence of what is about to manifest itself as each angel sounds a trumpet at a different time bringing God’s judgment to the earth.
And notice, if you will, verse 6, chapter 8, “And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.” It’s sort of interesting to me that before an instrument is ever used by God there’s a time of preparation. God does not just take His instruments and sort of randomly, with no preparation, toss them out to use. Even these angels are preparing themselves. And God wants to use me, He wants to use you but so many times we’re unwilling to submit to the preparation process. Everybody wants to be used by God but you start looking at the number of believers that want to be prepared by God to be used by God and suddenly that number starts to shrink.
Could it be that God is preparing you right now for something that He wants to do in and through your life? Could it be that the sickness or the difficulty or the disability or the setback or the heartbreak that you’re in right now God wants to use, because He knows that two years down the road, five years down the road, ten years down the road, someone is going to come along your path with the identical problem and you’re going to know exactly how to minister to that person. Why? Because the most effective ministers are those that have walked in the very valley that they’re ministering to as others walk through that same valley. And I would just challenge you in the midst of the valley that you may be in to submit yourself to the preparatory process. Don’t see it as some kind of unwanted, unneeded suffering. God doesn’t waste anything in our lives. And so let’s submit to Him as we prepare to be used by Him.
We move to Revelation 8:7 and now we see the first trumpet is sounded. Notice verse 7, “The first” that would be the angel, “sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.” Trumpet one has sounded and we have a destruction that comes now after this half hour silence is over to a third part of the earth, a third of the trees, a third of the grass. And you say well, who does God think He is judging this planet. We know exactly who He is, He’s the Creator. We saw that, did we not, at the end of Revelation 4. In fact, you recall Revelation 4:11, the heavenly scene. “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
God, according to Revelation 4 has every right to judge this world, to judge this planet because the planet owes its very existence to God. It’s interesting here it talks about how God brought judgment to the earth and the trees and the grass. Aren’t those the very things that God Himself created on the third creation day? Genesis 1:9-13. [Genesis 1:9-13, “Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.  God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.  Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.  The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.  There was evening and there was morning, a third day.”]
And you say well how exactly is God going to do this? How is He going to bring these judgments, these terrible trumpet judgments. And many people are very imaginative in their interpretations; some, and very good people believe this, that God is going to somehow use nuclear weapons to destroy the world. It is interesting to me that when John had this revelation how were the worlds wars, up to that point in time, fought? I mean, how were they fought up to the advent of modern day technology? Later would come canons and cannon balls but you have swords and you have a little bit later bows and arrows, and things of this nature. And John probably was scratching his head, those are lethal weapons to be sure but they’re not capable of doing the type of mass destruction, the eradication of half of the world’s population when we get to Revelation 9, that the prophecy was indicating as he was seeing these things.
So it is interesting to me to note that here we are in the twenty-first century with all of these chemical weapons, atomic weapons, nuclear weapons and we have the capacity to destroy the world’s population completely from the earth several times over. And you say well, does God need nuclear weapons? I mean, how is this going to work, is He just going to let mad men have their way and suddenly their hand is on the button and the bombs are flying? I don’t know exactly how all of this is going to happen but it’s a possibility.
But let me reveal something else to you if I could; God doesn’t need nuclear weapons to do anything. The last time I checked He did a pretty good job on Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19:24. [Genesis 19:24, “Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven,  and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”] I don’t think He needed nukes for that? Does God allow man, in his evil mind, to actually misuse these weapons of mass destruction that man’s wickedness has created? Maybe God does; maybe He removes the restraint. But then again, God is more than capable of bringing judgments of this nature with no indirect help from the weapons of man.
Notice that the first trumpet is sounded and essentially what happens is a third of the earth’s vegetation is destroyed. Notice, if you will, trumpet number 2, verses 8 and 9, “The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood,” verse 9, “and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.” What is this talking about? This is talking about a nuclear bomb, sort of flying and dropping and hitting the ocean and spreading radioactive contamination to a third of the ocean. Maybe that’s what it is, I’m not sure. I find it very interesting though that in verse 8 John says “something like,” a simile, it’s the Greek word hos, and sometimes he says “like” not just “as” but “like” he uses the word homios, and he keeps saying this all the way through the book, something as, something like. Why does John keep saying that? Because John, on the island of Patmos in the first century was given a very, very difficult assignment. He was, according to Revelation 1:11, he was to follow a command, “Write in a book what you see. [Revelation 1:11, “saying, ‘Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”]
So he can’t use the expression atomic bomb, nuclear bomb, radiation, if that indeed is what’s happening here, I’m not completely sure it is, but assuming it is how could John say that? He doesn’t have the vocabulary for it that we have in the twenty-first century so he just keeps saying “like” and he’s analogizing it to something from his own time period. It would be like taking Benjamin Franklin from the 18th century and all of a sudden putting him in Bush International Airport. How could he explain the things that he saw? How could he explain someone looking at their flight reservations on their cell phone. How could he explain someone’s voice coming over the loud speaker? How could he explain a jet airliner receiving fuel and landing and taking off. He wouldn’t have any vocabulary for that so he would just keep saying it was “like” and he would analogize is to something from his own time period.
And you’ll notice that when this particular judgment hits we have a third of the earth’s ocean destroyed. And that judgment is so severe, verse 9, that it damages a third of the sea creatures, a third of the ship. [Revelation 8:9, “and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.”] And we say who does God think He is destroying the ocean and destroying the sea creatures within the ocean. Well, I’ll tell you who God is, He’s the same One that brought the ocean into existence, day two of the creation week. He is the exact same one who brought these sea creatures into existence, day five of the creation week.
You see, that’s why we’ve entitled this sermons Creator and Judge. God has the absolute right and this has been demonstrated in Revelation 4, to bring these judgments because the creation itself wouldn’t exist without Him. And what does man do with the revelation of God? Romans 1, he worships the creation rather than who? The Creator. [Romans 1:5, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.”]
Worshipping the creation rather than the Creator is what’s dominant today in what you call militant environmentalism. I’m not necessarily against environmentalism and being a good steward of the earth as long as it’s biblically focused and directed in the right way. But you see so much teaching today on the environment looks at the environment as if it’s what called Gaia, which is an idea that the earth itself is some sort of deity and some sort of god and it’s this idea that we need to treat the earth respectfully or it’s somehow going to retaliate against us through tsunami’s and earthquakes and famines and things like this… Mother Earth theology! What’s the problem with it? It’s worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.
And you can see, you can imagine mankind enmeshed in earth worship in these last days, angrily sticking their finger in God’s face and pointing to Him and saying how dare You disrupt the planetary balance. And yet the reality is God has every right to do it because the planets and the planetary balance and everything that we enjoy in this world wouldn’t even exist had it not been for the hand of God.
You’ll notice here in trumpet judgment two something that was in trumpet judgment one, you’ll notice it says “a third.” Now when we get to the bowl judgments, assuming we get there before the rapture, what it will say in Revelation 16:3 concerning the destruction of the ocean, it will say this: “The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.” You see what’s happening here? The judgments move from a third of the ocean, Revelation 8, to by the time you get to the end of the Book of Revelation, chapter 16, and now it’s all the ocean.
You say what is happening? God is progressively turning up the temperature, that’s what’s happening. Yes, He’s giving people an opportunity to repent and many do, but as humanity continues on and on and on in its rebellion and its stubbornness against God, God keeps turning up the thermostat, He keeps turning up the temperature and the judgments get more and more severe as the human heart grows colder and colder and colder. Now we’re not just dealing with a third of the earth or a third of the ocean; now we’re dealing with all of the ocean and if you’re a careful student of the Word of God you’ll discern that that’s exactly how God dealt with Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus. God said through Moses to Pharaoh, “Let My people go” and how easy that would have been on Pharaoh, just to comply with the directives of God. And you know the story, “he hardened his heart,” I think it says it about six or seven times, “he hardened his heart” so what did God do? The judgments got worse, progressively worse. In fact, early on in those ten judgments in the Book of Exodus Pharaoh’s magicians were able to imitate some of them until the plague of the gnats, I think it was, emerged and finally the Egyptian magicians said this is the hand of God, no one can imitate these judgments.
That’s the type of thing that’s happening and this relates to the nature of God, His unwillingness to bring judgment, His desire to give humanity every possible opportunity to change under His grace. And we’ll get to the end of Revelation 9, trumpet judgment number 6, and it’s a bold and cold testimony to the hardness of the human heart and consequently the judgments start to become more and more severe.
It is also interesting to me to note that God attacks the very things people worship. Why did God bring flies and gnats and frogs and why did He turn the Nile to blood red and why did He destroy all of the firstborn within Egypt? Well, everything we know about Egyptology and archeological remains from that time period show us very clearly that those are the things the Egyptians worshipped. And says do you like frogs? Do you worship frogs? I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll give you so many frogs you won’t know what to do with them. And you don’t think there’s a little bit of divine sarcasm in all of this? And what you’ll discover when you study the Egyptian plagues is every single one of them was designed to mock an Egyptian deity and to show man the foolishness of worshiping the creation rather than the Creator.
And just think about that the next time you’re Jr. High School student comes home talking about how their teacher told them that we need to be respectful to the earth and worship the earth and they’re giving you all of this Gaia Mother Earth theology. They’re taking living attributes, like calling the earth our mother, and assigning them to an inanimate object, the earth. And just remember Revelation 8; remember Revelation 16 the next time you hear these things because it’s a testimony of who really is in charge here. The earth is not in charge, the earth has never been in charge. God Himself is in charge!
So trumpet one, a third of the education is destroyed. Trumpet two, a third of the ocean is destroyed. We move into trumpet three, notice Revelation 8:10-11, and here it’s not just the ocean, a third of it, that becomes poisonous or uninhabitable, now God goes back to the fresh water supply. Revelation 8:10-11, notice what it says.  “The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like” see the simile there, “burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.“ So a third of the rivers, a third of the springs, fresh water supply, is now damaged. Verse 11, “The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.”
What is Wormwood? The Ryrie Study Bible gives me a little bit of help here, on the note in verse 11 it defines Wormwood as follows. “Many species of wormwood, a woody herb, grow in the land of Israel and have a strong and bitter” now he says not poisonous, “taste which causes the plants to be used as a symbol of bitterness and sorrow and calamity. This plague will make a third part of the fresh water supply of the earth unfit for human consumption.” The audience knew about bitterness in water; apparently, if Ryrie’s Study note is correct the type of wormwood or bitterness he’s talking about was not poisonous but it looks like God has upped the game here. It looks to me like it is poisonous in this third trumpet judgment as anybody who drinks from it is killed. It says “many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.”
You worship water, take a look at your ocean. Well, we’ve got the fresh water left. Take a look at that, a third of it is gone. God says I’m just going to keep turning up the temperature until I get the result I want from the earth dwellers or the inhabitants of the earth.
And that moves into trumpet judgment number four where now a third of the luminaries are darkened, the sun, and the moon, and the stars. Take a look if you could at Revelation 8, notice verses 12-13. Notice what it says, “The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.” Now God takes aim at a third of the sun, (s-u-n), a third of the moon, and a third of the starts.
Now it is interesting that when we get to the bowl judgments, in bowl judgment number 5 it will not just a third, it will be all of the luminaries will be darkened. Revelation 16:10 says, “Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain.” You see some divine sarcasm here in the darkening of the human race physically? Do you like darkness? Do you reject Jesus Christ, the light of the world? Then I’ll give you physical darkness as well. In fact, the physical darkness that I’ll bring to your world will be commensurate or equal with the spiritual darkness that you’re already in because you’ve rejected My Son.
It’s interesting that Jesus mentioned earlier is called “the light of the world.” And how desperately we need the light of Jesus Christ because over in John’s Gospel, chapter 3:19-21 we have this very telling statement and it says this, as Christ is speaking. “This is the judgment, that the Light” that’s Christ, “has come into the world,” and you would think with light coming into the world men would just say praise God, light is here. It’s like you’re out camping and one of your flashlights goes out and you’re just such a mess because you can’t see and you can’t find your way around and you’re tripping over things and stumbling over things and somebody suddenly remembers that in your cell phone there’s a flashlight and you turn it on… oh, praise the Lord! I mean you would think that with the darkness the world has been in ever since the fall in Eden that Jesus would show up, you would think that the human race would just embrace Jesus because now they have a sense of light. But that’s not what people do.
John 3:19-21 says, This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light,” why would they do that? “for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” The Light is sort of uninviting to people because light, by its very nature, exposes. This is why Jesus is pushed out of places. I mean, we pushed Him out of our school system a long time ago. May God help us, He’s being pushed out of, in some cases, many of our own churches.
I mean, it’s completely possible today to go to church and never hear the name Jesus, never even open your Bible, because Jesus by His very nature as the Light of the World, is an expose on the darkness of humanity. And yet to be healed in God how necessary that light is, so that we can see things for what they are. We shouldn’t run from light, we should gravitate to the light. And yet humanity has not done that and Jesus says okay, you’ve rejected spiritual life, let’s see how well you do with a lack of physical life now.
I mean, the physical darkness is going to match very well your already corrupted condition. I mean, isn’t it a bit of divine sarcasm that the antichrist’s empire, the ultimate darkness that will come to this world in Revelation 16 is going to end in darkness? I mean, that’s divine sarcasm, that’s God mocking creation, who thinks they can rebel against God. Do you recall Psalm 2 where the nations are conspiring against God. Do you recall the response of God, Psalm 2? It’s a short psalm, you should go home and read it.
[Psalm 2, “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?  The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,  ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’  He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them.  Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying,  “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.  I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: Today I have begotten You.  ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.  You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”  Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.  Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling.  Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”
It talks about He who is “in the heavens laughs.” God just scoffs at it because it is so ridiculous to see this little group of ants rebel against God and yet we would prefer many times to stay in the darkness. Why is that? Because we love our sin, let’s be honest. If there wasn’t a certain enjoyment in sin we would never do it. Btu we don’t see the consequences that are coming physically and spiritually and so God, in love, tries to move us away from lifestyles of sin. And frankly, people don’t want to hear it.
And I’ll remind us also of this, what did the Lord say in the Sermon on the Mount? Matthew 5:13-16? He didn’t just say you are the salt of the earth but you are the light of the world. [Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14] You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;  nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”]
This is why you’re resistant all of the time, you start shining the love and light of Jesus Christ and we think goodness gracious, everybody in my family is just going to love what I am giving out here, and it’s not true. My country will love what I’m giving out, my church will love it and it’s just not true because light by definition exposes… and if you open yourself up as a vessel of God to be used as His instrument of light those in darkness won’t like it. And this is why Christian martyrdoms are what they are in our world.
So here in verse 12 light itself is decreased by a third. Again, getting some help here from the Ryrie Study Bible. Ryrie, on verse 12, says, “This could mean” about this judgment, the fourth trumpet judgment, “This could mean that the twenty-four hour cycle of the day and night will be darkened sixteen hours, reducing it by a third in other words, or that the power of the sun and the moon and the stars will be reduced by a third,” that’s a possibility as well, or it could mean this, that the debris from the other judgments are so severe that from the perspective of the earth it looks like a third of the luminaries have been darkened.” I’m not exactly sure how all of this is going to happen but I know this much: A. It won’t be pleasant and B. God has a right to do it.
You say well why does God have a right to do it? Who exactly put the sun and the moon and the stars in the heavens on day four of the creation week? God did that, and if He is the Creator He has every single right to be the judge of the creation that He Himself has made.
What do people do in history? They worship the creation rather than the Creator. They worship the sun; go through your Ancient Near East literature background; archeology. What is everybody worshiping? The sun. Not the s-o-n son, that’s what they should be worshipping, they’re worshipping the sun, the s-u-n, because that is part of the depravity of the human heart, to worship a thing rather than the God that made that thing. We’d rather worship an inanimate object that has no life in it than an animate object, God, who brought that very object into existence. And it is very interesting to me to note that light comes into existence in Genesis 1:3, that’s on day one of creation. “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” But wait a minute, I thought you said that the luminaries, the sun and the moon and the stars, Genesis 1:14-18 didn’t come into existence until day four of the creation week. So how can you have light on day one when you don’t have a sun (s-u-n) until day four. The answer is very simple when you study the biblical chronology. God designed it this way to show humanity that He does not need the sun, s-u-n. God can generate light in an instant. In fact, your Bible says, I believe it’s in 1 Timothy 6, there’s also a reference in 1 John, that God Himself is clothed in unapproachable light. We don’t look to the sun, s-u-n as our source, we look to God who created the sun and frankly doesn’t even need the sun.
And so humanity would never lose this important lesson in their idolatrous state God says I’m going to set things up in such a way that people with common sense could see the foolishness of idolatry; I’ll allow light to come into existence before the luminaries exist.
And what are the things in your life, in my life, that we’re looking to for identity, comfort, security, thinking that those things, our retirement account, or an ability to bet on the stocks well, or a new medical cure, an education, I mean think of all of the things that people trust in rather than God. And yet what are those things at the end of the day? They’re just mere creations, things that would have no life or vitality in and of themselves; they wouldn’t even exist had God not breathed them, spoke them, ex nihilo, something out of nothing, into existence. So God doesn’t need the sun and He doesn’t need the moon. In fact, in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 4 and verse 19 it says this: “And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”
God always said worship Me, rest in Me, trust in Me, let your identity come from Me, not a mere creation. And did you know also that we’re going to a place where there’s not going to be a sun or a moon? Now during the millennial kingdom, which will last a thousand years the sun, s-u-n, will be seven times brighter. You say where are you getting this from. It’s in Isaiah 30:26. [Isaiah 30:26, “The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.”]
But then God is going to take this whole world that has been touched and cursed by sin, He’s going to dissolve it by fire, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 21:1, and it will pass away and then will come the new heavens and the new earth. [2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”]
And there on the screen are all the things you’re not going to find in the new heavens and the new earth, including the sun, s-u-n, or the moon. Why would we not need those things? Because we’re going to have the Son, S-o-n, Jesus Christ. I mean, why would I need a secondary object when God Himself is the source of light, not just spiritual but physical as well. And is interesting to me how we get our priorities so out of whack and how those things come back into proper alignment when we start to understand the things that God has revealed in His Word.
And then notice verse 13, still dealing with here the fourth trumpet judgment. “Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe” that’s three woes according to my count, Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet” that would be five and six and seven, and “of the three angels who are about to sound!” In other words, if you think this is bad the worst is yet to come.
And in fact, I’ve been trying to study Revelation 9 where those next two trumpet blasts are found. I’m glad this is not a seeker friendly church, you know, where you make Christianity marketable to unsaved people to get the church to grow. How would you teach Revelation 9? How do you put a smiley face on demons that are trapped in an abyss and they’ve been there since the days of Noah, as I’ll show you, how do you put a smiley face on them coming out the abyss and tormenting people like a scorpion’s sting for five months of such a severity that people want to die, they want to kill themselves? And yet, suicide itself, we learn in Revelation 9, evades them. That’s trumpet judgment number five.
And how would you put a happy face or a smiley face on trumpet judgment number six where an army east of the Euphrates River makes its way over to northern Israel, a place called Armageddon, and in the process kills a third of the earth’s population. Notice [can’t understand word] again. You say well wait a minute, I thought a quarter of the earth’s population already died. They did! Revelation 6 which leaves three quarters, right. Well, Revelation 9 you learn about a third of the earth’s population yet to be destroyed. You take your hand and you’ve got four fingers here, that’s Revelation 6, and that’s Revelation 9. And by the time you get to Revelation 9 half of the world’s population is eliminated.
Now how do you market that to people? How do you maintain a philosophy of ministry that’s expositional and faithful to the Word of God without totally offending the entire population of Sugarland and/or Houston or anybody that has the courage to watch something like this. You can’t do it. And this is why the marketing Jesus approach, making Jesus so comfortable for everybody that we’re going to get all the unsaved in here. You can’t teach the Bible in that environment, you’ll be shown the door very fast. And how thankful I am for people like you, Sugar Land Bible Church, that actually want to hear these types of difficult and hart truths.
So this eagle is flying and basically it’s saying three woes are coming, trumpet judgment five, Revelation 9; trumpet judgment six, Revelation 9. But wait a minute, there’s a third woe here, isn’t there? It doesn’t just say “woe, woe,” it says “woe, woe, woe.” That means trumpet judgment seven must be bad too. But wait a minute, pastor, I thought you told us that when we got to a seven there’s a moment of silence, just like there was with the sixth seal, rather the seventh seal, a moment of silence, silence in heaven for half an hour. How could mere silence be a woe? It is a woe? Do you know why? Because as I’ve been trying to explain the seventh trumpet will unleash the bowls, which are even more horrific than the things that we have studied. The seventh seal unleashes the trumpets; the seventh trumpet unleashes the bowls. That’s why this angel flying to and fro or this eagle doesn’t just talk about one woe, Revelation 9:1-12, doesn’t just talk about a second woe, Revelation 9:13-21; it talks about a third woe, Revelation 11 verses roughly 15-18 because that seventh trumpet, just like the seventh seal that preceded it will unleash the next set of judgments which are even worse. And so we see these judgments sort of pulling out, if you will, like a telescope.
And I was going to try to do Revelation 9 today but I can see I’ve depressed everybody already. [Laughter] So we’ll save that for next time. But the reality of the situation is judgment is coming to this world. Judgment is coming to the human race. I mean, that judgment is just as real as the flood that hit this world prior to the days of Noah. And the warning is to go to the ark of refuge, go to safety. Where was safety in Noah’s day? It was in a construction called an ark that everybody laughed at. How dumb is that, we haven’t even seen rain in our whole existence, water (Genesis 2) comes out from the ground like mist. You’re preaching for 120 years of a giant flood with this giant object there that you’re building; how silly, how moronic!
And yet that was where the safety was. And here we are in the age of the church and we’re talking about Jesus Christ and a man who died on a cross 2,000 years ago for the sins of the world, and He rose from the dead. And the cross is foolishness to people, the Bible tells us. It’s a stumbling block. And yet as foolish as it seems that’s where you find safety. You find safety in an ark made of wood in the days of Noah. You find safety in a cross made of wood that Jesus suffered upon two thousand years ago. That’s the gospel; that’s the ark of safety, the cross. And how do you become connected to the cross? You have to receive, by way of faith, what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross 2,000 years ago. You have to receive it as a gift. And the only way you can receive a gift from God is by placing your personal faith, not in yourself, not in your works, not in your performance but in what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago when His final words as He was dying on that cross were “It is finished!”
There’s nothing else to add; you receive that as a gift by way of faith. That’s your safety. So all of these things that the Bible tells us very candidly are coming and our simple question is have you entered the ark by way of faith? Have you done that? Or is this coming here today, listening to this just sort of a religious thing I do. It’s interesting information but it really has never affected my life.
I believe this, folks, I believe hell itself is going to be full with theologically illiterate people, people that can tell you all kinds of things about Jesus and Christianity and yet the difference between the head and the heart, although it’s just a few inches, is eternity. At some point this stuff has to become real and it becomes real when you put your confidence in it. The ark had no power at all for Noah and his family until Noah and his family got inside the ark. They obviously by doing so believed what God had said. And at some point you have to believe in what God has said. It has to become real to you, the Spirit has to make it alive and convict us and we trust in Christ at that point.
You can do that right now, even as I’m speaking, and receive that ark of safety. It’s not a matter of joining a church, walking an aisle, raising a hand, giving money, kindhearted, it’s a matter of personal privacy between you and the Lord where the Lord convicts you of your need to do this and you respond the best you know how in the quietness of your own mind and the quietness of your own heart, you trust in Christ and you just entered the ark of safety. And as we study these judgments we say yeah, this is bad, people need to know about this, the world needs to know about this, but the reality of the situation is Romans 8:1, “There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus” because you’re “in the ark” and so our exhortation is to respond to that gospel message right there where you’re seated and enter that ark of safety. If it’s something you need more explanation on I’m available after the service to talk. Shall we pray.
Father, we are grateful for Your Word and how it reveals the hard things, particularly as we’ve studied today the final seven seal judgment followed by these first four trumpet blasts. Make us good stewards this week of this chapter as we continue to grow and develop into the kinds of people that You would have us to become under the nurturing truth of Your Word. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen.